Climate Change

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KlimaSeniorinnen v. Switzerland – A New Era for Climate Change Protection or Proceeding with the Status Quo?

Climate change scholars and members of the public are dedicating their attention to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, the Court) in Strasbourg, where its first climate change cases are being decided. Currently, three climate cases are pending before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR: Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland (application no. 53600/20), Carême v. France (application no. 7189/21) and Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Others (application no. 39371/20). In the case of KlimaSeniorinnen v. Switzerland, the applicants have argued for a violation of Arts. 2, 8, 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR, the Convention) concerning their rights to life, respect for private and family life, a fair trial and an effective remedy. The question of states’ human rights obligations in reaction to climate change under the ECHR carries with it some problems relating to both the admissibility and the merits of “climate cases”. This post discusses central issues of climate protection under the ECHR on the…

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Climate Change hearings and the ECtHR

On March the 29th, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held oral hearings in two of the three climate change claims before the Chamber. The two cases are Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland and Carême v. France. Both cases were relinquished to the Grand Chamber last year and the Chamber…

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A Few Reflections on State Responsibility or Liability for Environmental Harm

A lot has been written on the subject of State responsibility / liability for environmental harm. However, in the recent years, the debate has not been as robust as immediately after the rendering of the Judgment of the International Court of Justice in Certain Activities Carried Out By Nicaragua In the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) Compensation…

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Another Advisory Opinion on the Climate Emergency? The Added Value of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The highest human rights tribunal in the Americas, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), sits in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, part of a region significantly exposed and vulnerable to climate impacts. If the global temperature continues to rise due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that remain trapped in the atmosphere, enjoying the whole…

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EJIL:The Podcast! Episode 18 – “Be Careful What You Ask For”

In this episode Dapo Akande, Marko Milanovic and Philippa Webb are joined by Philippe Sands (University College London and 11KBW) and Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh (University of Amsterdam and University of the South Pacific). The focus is on the advisory function of international courts and tribunals. In December 2022, the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International…

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